by MATT BACON >
Here is an easy way to make money in the music industry, take it for free, it is something hat not a lot of people have really thought about I think and which, when it gets fully actualized is going to become super efficient and useful. The back end of this entire thing is very precarious and poorly put together. Not a lot of people will admit that even some of our most sophisticated systems are pretty fucked up and clunky and make things ridiculously difficult. It’s a huge part of why the industry moves in leaps and bounds, because sometimes one key back end thing gets upgraded and suddenly we all are much better off. It’s sort of like when Haulix took over promo and it became so much easier to market bands. Of course Haulix still has a lot of issues – yet it remains dominant. So I wanted to look at that and talk about how that could help folks grow in the industry over the next few years.
One of the things that helps to make the music industry so fascinating is that when people from different industries come in they are almost always able to find unique and interesting ways to contribute to the scene. We see this especially with the tech sector, but also with people who come in as writers or businessmen or what have you – at the end of the day a lot of the skills between individual industries are transferable and that can be a very useful spin on things when you’re trying to figure out your own unique path. One of the people I go to the most for music advice isn’t even a music person at all. He’s just a smart guy who works coding and is able to give me a different perspective. Appreciating these different perspectives is pretty much the only way to build new and useful tools for this whole thing to propagate at this point.
The reason for this should be fairly obvious – most people in the music industry come from a pretty similar background. This is true for everyone from musicians all the way up to independent label owners. We’re all people who decided the best way to spend high school would be at basement shows drinking beers with strangers, rather than making responsible choices and trying to get degrees. Obviously some people do that and it works for them and they get a job in the industry, but even then, they usually have a similar view on life. Hell – even the musicians who go out and get degrees still can’t escape the mindset that we share. That’s why it’s so fascinating and helpful for me when people come in who have a different take on all of this, who look at the world of music and think “Hey, we can fix this in an interesting and new way that has never been done before” and yet we keep the barrier of entry so high it’s almost impossible to get involved properly.
Of course this should come as no surprise, some of the best music of the last few decades hell ome of the best music ever has come simply from people willing to fuse disparate genres together, even doing things considered blasphemous in order to find a way forward. Why is it that it’s so hard for us to accept that the very thing which drives progress in music is something that’s frowned upon within the industry? Wherever you look, be it Monteverdi bringing instruments into the church to Led Zeppelin adding touches of classical to their unique brand of rock and roll. It’s this longstanding spirit of innovation that has helped keep music fascinating and inspiring for me. If you can’t embrace that then you’re going to have a hard time building for a future that’s going to actually be sustainable. You’re just going to find yourself playing into the same tropes and continually wondering why no one really gives a shit.
This is part of why the elitism of the music world becomes so frustrating.
You wonder why we can’t get other people to want to come and get involved with what we are doing but then you judge them for not knowing all about Bavarian Folk Metal. The death of the music industry is pretty inevitable going to be its own inability to get its head out of its ass. That’s just the way the news goes, and as much as that sucks we also need to realize that this gives us an easy out. People are always complaining about how we’ve reached an end to progression with how we run record deals, or that deals are going to get only more predatory, but that’s patently not the case. Rather – we are going to find ourselves forced to look beyond. If you want to be able to create a product in the industry that other people are going to be guaranteed to buy then you need to do this too – it’s how all the cool companies got founded, and is our only hope.
Still – this is a huge part of what fascinates me about music. Pretty much everyone that I’ve hung out with over the past decade has been at least tangentially related to music, but frequently when I burst out of the bubble I end up finding a ton of people and things that can connect with what I really want to do. Finding new and exciting goals and fresh ways to do them is fascinating and reminds us time and time again why we do this. Everyone wants to be on the bleeding edge of technology and their industry of choice. If you’re not willing to take a chance and try out something you might have never otherwise done you’ll always suffer.